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30 minutes | Dec 14, 2016
Season 2 Finale: Who Was The Worst Professor At Hogwarts?
It's the last episode of Skillset’s Season Two, our masterclass on high school movies. But I can’t throw my graduation cap before I get to talk about three of my all-time favorite flicks. First up, Bring it On introduced us to the crazy world of high school competitive cheerleading. But it turns out some of those insane moves -- okay, a lot of them -- aren’t technically legal. So how real is Bring it On? We ask Susie Knoblauch of the National Federation of State High School Associations who oversees cheer battles to separate the truth from the tinsel. Then, we talk about the most famous prom dress in movie history. Hint: It’s pink. It’s covered in blood. It’s Carrie’s, and costume designer Luis Sequera had the tough job of updating the iconic gown when Hollywood remade Carrie 37 years after the original. That’s several lifetimes in teenage trends. And finally, let’s go to Harry Potter’s Hogwarts where the class subjects are fiction, but the teaching styles are all too real. There’s good teachers and bad teachers, boring classes and classes that should be interesting but somehow still wind up boring because the teacher doesn’t care. Dr. Melissa Johnson of Virginia Commonwealth University studied their teaching styles and discovered who is the worst teacher at Hogwarts -- and it isn't because they tried to kill their students. Skillset will be back in early spring with our third season and a new theme. We’ll be traveling around the world in eight episodes, so subscribe to the show on your favorite podcatcher and join us for a new adventure and a new batch of experts.
33 minutes | Dec 7, 2016
William Shakespeare , Class Of So Freakin’ Baked
This week, Skillset skips across time from Ye Olde England to modern day stoners to ancient beasts. First up, William Shakespeare stopped going to school when he was 13, but his plays make great high school movies -- especially if they star Julia Stiles. Dr Gitanjali Shahani, a professor of English at San Francisco State University, explains the lasting power of 400-year-old blockbusters. Here's another Shakespeare fun fact: Last year, a research team found traces of weed and cocaine on Shakespeare’s pipes. The Bard was baked? Sounds like the plot of a teen movie, like the stoner comedy High School where a kid feeds his entire class pot brownies to duck out of a drug test. That sounds extreme, but according to Emily Feinstein of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, 90% of teens say their classmates smoke, drink or use drugs during the school day. That stat is staggering, so we called up Emily to learn more. And if after all that, you think you’re seeing things, you’re not alone. Comedian Bobcat Goldthwait, the star of one of my all-time favorite teen movies, One Crazy Summer, has spent years on a mission to find Bigfoot. Is he for real? Is Bigfoot for real? Let’s ask on this week’s episode of Skillset.
32 minutes | Nov 29, 2016
Don't You Forget About John Hughes
Pay attention, class. This week Skillset salutes to John Hughes, the prom king of the high school movie. First up, step into the office of high school principal Sean Gaillard to ask if that class-skipping punk Ferris is really the hero of Ferris Bueller. Then, we hand the microphone to guitarist Sam Cannariato of the cover band Molly and the Ringwalds to talk about how John Hughes' soundtracks became eternal hits. And finally: legend has it that John Hughes' original version of The Breakfast Clubwas two-and-half hours. Audiences have never seen a full hour of lost footage, including a whole new character. Assistant editor Nancy Frazen was there -- and we ask her what got cut out. So raise a fist and let's get marching on this week’s episode of Skillset.
35 minutes | Nov 16, 2016
The Risky Business of Rebellion
Welcome to another episode of Skillset – the podcast where every guest is an expert, and every week they teach you and me a new way to look at the movies. Today is dedicated to the rebels, the shit-stirrers, the trouble-makers whose aggro energy we’re going to need for the next four years. This isn’t a time for obedience. Let’s start with the first ever revolutionary teen: James Dean, who exploded into pop culture with 1955’s Rebel Without a Cause, released one month after he died in a car accident. He never got to see himself a star, but he made a big impression in Hollywood and on David Loehr, who moved to James Dean's hometown of Fairmont, Indiana to open the James Dean Gallery where he runs the annual costume contest. Then let's hang out with one of today’s major teenagers, actress Hailee Steinfeld, star of the new film The Edge of Seventeen in which she plays a junior named Nadine who breaks every rule. And finally, let's take off our pants and talk about Risky Business, the movie about a high school senior who opens a brothel in his parents home and turned Tom Cruise into a legend. But we’re not talking about his underwear. We’re going to be talking about his Ray Ban sunglasses and the power of one cool kid to rescue a failing 50-year-old company. So let's flip up our shirt collar and get going on this week’s episode of Skillset.
31 minutes | Nov 9, 2016
Mark Duplass And Lindsay Lucas Bartlett
Open your heart to Skillset, the podcast where every guest is an expert, and every week they teach you and me a new way to look at the movies. This week's episode is dedicated to two movies about all-consuming high school love. First up, let’s analyze the most wicked game in Winona Ryder and Christian Slater’s Heathers. It’s a cruel little sport called croquet, and like the Heathers, actress and comedian Lindsay Lucas Bartlett played it competitively in high school, no holds barred. It turns out croquet is the true test of a person’s morality where nice people risk finishing last. And then, writer-director-Hollywood renaissance man Mark Duplass comes into the studio to open up about the high school girlfriend he swore he was going to marry, back when he was a kid in New Orleans shooting movies with his older brother Jay. Mark was a huge romantic, the type who would have held a boombox over his head. In fact, he still might -- let's find out on this week’s episode of Skillset.
35 minutes | Nov 1, 2016
Vote 'Yes' on Skillset's special episode dedicated to the president/ruler/queen of ‘90s high school movies: Reese Witherspoon. As we put together our season-long salute to high school movies, Reese reigned supreme. The sunny blonde captured the innocence and the danger of an age when almost-adults learn -- the hard way -- that their decisions have grown-up consequences. First up, in honor of Reese’s retro fantasy Pleasantville, where she plays a modern teenager shipped back to a perfect -- or perfectly repressed -- small 1950s town, we called up a guy you’re going to love: Carter Cook, a teenager who grew up in the real life Pleasantville, where the movie threw its premiere. Then, let’s get into Reese and Mark Wahlberg's thriller Fear and talk about abusive high school romances with Tatsumi Romano, member of the National Youth Advisory Board for LoveIsRespect.org. Finally, let’s go back to the future with Reese’s agonizingly prescient comedy Election in which an over-achieving brainiac blonde politician battles a country school that wants to see her fail. Sound familiar? MTV News editor Taylor Trudon sure thought so, so we sat down and tried to figure out where director Alexander Payne got his time machine -- and why he didn’t warn us. That's all in this week's Witherspecial episode of Skillset.
35 minutes | Oct 25, 2016
A Very ‘Skillset’ Halloween: Welcome To High School Hell
The power of Manon compels you to listen to this wicked new episode of “Skillset.” As you heard last week, this season is dedicated to high school movies: the crushes, the classmates, and the clothes. But because it’s the week before Halloween, today we’re going to talk about the sinister side of high school: witches, murder, and kids who get stalked by death. First up, real-life witch Meagan Fredette tells us why The Craft cast a spell on so many magical young women. Then American Honey star Sasha Lane celebrates her favorite high school movie: the popular-chicks-turned-murderers black comedy Jawbreaker. Finally, classics instructor Lucas Herchenroeder changes the way you see Final Destination. It’s not just a franchise where a bunch of hot teens die horrible deaths. It’s a modern-day Greek tragedy. That’s all in this week’s episode of “Skillset.” I you learned something new — like I know I did — give us a rating. Class is now in session.
33 minutes | Oct 18, 2016
Season 2 Premiere: Queen Bees, Wannabes, And Everything High School–Related In Between
Welcome to Season 2 of Skillset — the podcast where every guest is an expert, and every week they teach you and me a new way to look at the movies. This season is about one thing: high school movies. Which means, well, it’s actually going to be about dozens of things, but especially: What a real-life witch thinks about The Craft, what a real-life principal thinks about Ferris Bueller, and lost Breakfast Club footage you’ve never seen. We’re talking about everything from Tom Cruise’s sunglasses to Carrie’s prom dress. Our first guest of the new season is Mean Girls expert Rosalind Wiseman, author of the book Queen Bees and Wannabes, who tells us how she’d update the movie if Lindsay Lohan was in high school today. Holland Roden and Shelly Hennig, the stars of MTV’s Teen Wolf, try to understand why the 31-year-old movie still has claws in audiences today. And Can’t Hardly Wait costume designer Mark Bridges talks about the best — and worst — of late-’90s fashion. You know what that means: scuba goggles. That’s all in this week’s episode of “Skillset.” Subscribe on iTunes or your favorite podcatcher, and if you learned something new — like I know I did — give us a rating. Class is now in session.
30 minutes | Jun 17, 2016
Season 1 Finale: Michael Shannon Talks The Talking Heads
Did you know that Skillset made one of the best podcasts episodes of year-to-date-2016? It's true! IndieWire said so! Hurrah! The Amy Nicholson™ is closing out this first season of Skillset™ with a banger episode wherein she doth speaketh to: • An actual fish scientist from Australia! • Magician David Copperfield! • Actor Michael Shannon! Also! Batman facts! BUT NOT THE BATMAN YOU'RE THINKING OF. Skillset!
19 minutes | Jun 10, 2016
Cello...Is It Me, Dermot Mulroney, You’re Looking For?
In this episode of Skillset: Amy talks to actor Dermot Mulroney about moonlighting as a cellist. Also ahead: she interviews the tornado consultant for 'Twister.'
30 minutes | May 26, 2016
I Just Have Scratchy. You Scratch Brains.
In this episode of Skillset: Amy asks actor Ethan Hawke about how marathon running is tied to his work. Also ahead: she talks to the voice actors for "Ratchet & Clank" and a real barber tells us what Ice Cube got wrong in "Barbershop: The Next Cut."
15 minutes | May 19, 2016
Kill? Harvest? Terminate?
In this episode of Skillset: Amy asks actor Tye Sheridan about his love of hunting, and she talks to a therapist about romantic heartbreak in "The Huntsman: Winter's War."
25 minutes | May 12, 2016
This is Bringing Up Weird Feelings for Me
In this episode of Skillset: Amy talks to the kitten trainer on "Keanu." She also chats with actress Sienna Miller about her love of Bette Davis' classic films, and she makes a real punk band, The Muffs, watch "Green Room."
27 minutes | May 5, 2016
I Call It America and I Love It
In this episode of Skillset, Amy watches "Elvis and Nixon" and asks Elvis' best friend what it was really like meeting the president. She also talks to actor J.K. Simmons about playing poker, and she makes a real mom watch "Mother's Day."
33 minutes | Apr 25, 2016
Season 1 Premiere: If The Naked Person is Uncomfortable
On “Skillset,” every guest is an expert. And in every episode, these experts are going to teach us a new way to look at motion pictures. We're going to meet the behind-the-scenes specialists who make movie magic: cat trainers and shark-attack consultants and authorities on ’80s underwear. We're going to send real-life punk singers and barbers to movies about punk singers and barbers to learn the facts behind the fiction. And each week we're going ask our favorite actors about the extracinematic obsessions that have shaped them.
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